Deputy Alan Kelly has been elected Leader of the Labour Party
The 44 year old beat off opposition from Aodhán Ó Riordán to claim the position
Tipperary TD Alan Kelly has become the 13th leader of the Labour Party after votes were counted this evening in the race to succeed outgoing chief Brendan Howlin TD.
Deputy Kelly fought off the challenge of colleague, TD Aodhan Ó Riordán, and will now have to deal straight away with the question of whether or not Labour will consider going into government with a Fine Fail, Fine Gael and a group of Independents which could include fellow Tipperary man Deputy Michael Lowry – Deputy Jackie Cahill would also be in the mix as a Fianna Fáil TD.
Deputy Kelly, a former Minister for the Environment and Local Government, and Minister of State for Public and Commuter Transport from 2011 to 2014, is one of only six Labour TD's in Dáil Éireann, but those six TD's could have a very powerful say in the formation of the government.
Having been returned to Dáíi Éireann for the third consecutive time, the Portroe man was in prime position to become party leader once Brendan Howlin announced his intention to stand down – Deputy Kelly had attempted to win the leadership the last time out but was unable to get a seconder for his proposal.
As well as being a huge personal honour and achievement for the 44 year old Deputy Kelly, his elevation to Party Leader is also a major boost to Labour supporters in Tipperary who have gone through a difficult time with just one councillors on Tipperary County Council over the last two terms. A former MEP and Senator, Deputy Kelly has pledged to reinvigorate the party from the bottom up and he will certainly bring huge energy and innovation to the role.